Harvard Business School (HBS) is expanding its presence in India through adoption of more India-based cases and new offerings in Executive Education. The base of Indian case studies at HBS has risen to 90 in the last one year, and will see more additions in the coming time, says the school. “There are a lot more new India-focussed cases coming up in the next few years. We are still concentrating on building this up, gathering and creating more teaching material. It will take some time as it is a long process, and a lot of work goes into it,” said Stefan H Thomke, William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at HBS and Faculty Chair for HBS Executive Education in India.
Over the last five years since HBS opened its India Research Centre housed at Mahindra Towers, Mumbai, around 15 cases related to India have been published each year. Prior to that, there were fewer cases being written on India. This is reflective of a broader trend in business education around the world. Before the year 2000, business schools and Executive Education curricula did not have significant global content. Today, given the global macroeconomic scenario and the importance of understanding how to do business in emerging economies, there is greater need to create global content.
These cases are taught at Harvard Business School (MBA and Executive Education). They are also taught in business schools around the world, as well as in other Executive Education programmes and company training programmes around the world. The largest consumer of India-Focused cases are US B-schools, as faculty in MBA and Executive Education programmes seek to add more content from emerging markets like India into their curriculum.
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Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, last year signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) to source 24 case studies from the institute every year. HBP publishes management content for academics, students, and professionals. IIM-B is the only institute from India and fourth from Asia that supplies case studies to HBP.
“Our agreement is that we will supply about 24 cases to HBP every year. We are putting only new cases written by IIM-B faculty. We started this last year,” said Professor Dinesh Kumar, Chairperson, Research and Publications, IIM-Bangalore. Kumar added IIM-B had gone through a process where it received a lot of tips on how to style the case, etc. Harvard hand-holded IIM-B for about a year. HBP distributes the cases to B-schools and corporates globally, including over 75 B-schools in India which use the cases extensively in their curriculum. Globally, these are priced at $3 per student for use in MBA programmes and $6.95 per student for use in Executive Education. However, Indian schools are charged a lot less in an effort to make the content more accessible to the faculty and students.
Executive Education offerings is another area where HBS is striving to expand its presence in the country. The institute began its Executive Education in India in 2006-07 with few programmes, but has expanded the portfolio gradually. This year, there will be a total of seven Executive Education programmes in India. “HBS has broadened its portfolio in India in terms of research and cases, and executive education will play a crucial part in this endeavour. Our programme portfolio folder has been increasing gradually, and we hope to keep it on a steady rise. So, you will have this and more in the future,” Thomke said
All the HBS programmes have been tweaked to cater to the Indian executives. The teaching methodology in particular, has been tweaked to be relevant to the local context. For example, HBS used the Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) ‘Sactor’ innovation case study in ITS Executive Education programme on management innovation, to help executives understand equipment sector innovation. The case study involved analysis of the project at M&M to produce a tractor with an in-built trolley that could be used for non-farm purposes.
“The questions you get in such focussed case-based discussions are also very different from what we see in other countries. For example, we invited M&M executives to answer questions related to this particular case, so that the participants could understand the subject better. Overall, there has been a healthy mix of India-focussed cases and global cases, because this is what the executives want,” Thomke added.
He said management innovation would be one topic that will be taught every year in India. He said HBS has put more of marketing aspects to the course, that makes it unique to India. HBP is also looking for different channels to cater to the Indian leadership.